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HOME > Public Statements and Opinion Papers > Statements > Statement on New Development in Bodily/Mental Assaults Committed in Nagoya Prison

Statement on New Development in Bodily/Mental Assaults Committed in Nagoya Prison

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1.  Nagoya Prison officials abused an inmate to death last May (hereinafter referred to as May incident), and inflicted severe injuries on other inmate, which required an abdominal surgery last September (hereinafter referred to as September incident).

On 12 February 2003 following those incidents, it was reported that an inmate died in December 2001 after a Nagoya Prison official subjected him to anal torture with a high-pressure fire hose, which left him with lacerations deep in his rectum (hereinafter referred to as December incident).

2.  The conduct of the prison official in the December incident has no legal basis and is indefensible brutal torture. Humiliation and anguish of the inmate brutally assaulted to death in a narrow protective cell in winter are horrible beyond all imagination.

Other prison officials present at the scene of the incident and the head and executive officials of Nagoya Prison of the day must have known the facts. Nonetheless, since the incident, the Prison has been making a false report that "the inmate has died of self-inflicted wounds" to the Correction Bureau of the Ministry of Justice. Such corrupt practice of systematically covering up scandals must be acutely criticized.

On the other hand, the Correction Bureau did not conduct any investigation after having received a report about this incident from the Prison. This incident occurred in December, 2001. Thus, had appropriate measures been taken at that time, the May and September incidents could have been averted. Further, even after the May and September incidents had come to light, the Correction Bureau explained "this incident is not controversial as the injury has been self-inflicted" in responding to questions in the Diet. The headquarter and the Correction Bureau of the Justice Ministry must be held liable for having failed to exercise their supervisory responsibilities over those incidents.

3.  The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) strongly urges the Ministry of Justice to initiate the following actions:

a)   to conduct independent investigations on abovementioned three incidents already detected and to announce the investigation results to the public promptly:
b)   to impose severe disciplinary sanctions on the Minister of Justice and executive officials including those of the headquarter of the Ministry of Justice that have been involved in those incidents or have supervisory responsibilities;
c)   to thoroughly review the conditions for detention in a protective cell; and
d)   to abolish the use of leather handcuffs.

The JFBA is going to carry out a telephone survey, so-called "Keimusho/Kochisho 110 Ban", at bar associations throughout the country to find out what is going on in protective cells and how often leather handcuffs are misused. Based on the survey results, the JFBA will propose measures, including creation of a national human rights institution, a body independent of the Ministry of Justice, responsible for handling complaints from sentenced and unsentenced inmates alleging violations of human rights, to drastically improve the treatment of inmates under sentence of imprisonment or penal detention.

Tohru MOTOBAYASHI
President
Japan Federation of Bar Associations
February 20, 2003